Deep global cycling of carbon constrained by the solidus of anhydrous, carbonated eclogite under upper mantle conditions

Rajdeep Dasgupta, Marc M Hirschmann, Anthony C. Withers

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297 Scopus citations


We present partial melting experiments that constrain the near solidus phase relations of carbonated eclogite from 2 to 8.5 GPa. The starting material was prepared by adding 5 wt.% CO2 in the form of a mixture of Fe-Mg-Ca-Na-K carbonates to an eclogite from Salt Lake crater, Oahu, Hawaii and is a reasonable approximation of carbonated oceanic crust from which siliceous hydrous fluids have been extracted during subduction. Melt-present versus melt-absent conditions are distinguished based on textural criteria. Garnet and clinopyroxene appear in all the experiments. Between 2 and 3 GPa, the subsolidus assemblage also includes ilmenite±calcio-dolomitess ±CO2, whereas above the solidus (1050-1075 °C at 3 GPa) calcio-dolomitic liquid appears. From 3 to 4.5 GPa, dolomitess is stable at the solidus and the near-solidus melt becomes increasingly dolomitic. The appearance of dolomite above 3 GPa is accompanied by a negative Clapeyron slope of the solidus, with a minimum located between 995 and 1025 °C at ca. 4 GPa. Above 4 GPa, the solidus rises with increasing pressure to 1245±35 °C at 8.5 GPa and magnesite becomes the subsolidus carbonate. Dolomitic melt coexists with magnesite+garnet+cpx+rutile along the solidus from 5 to 8.5 GPa. Comparison of our results to other recent experimental studies [T. Hammouda, High-pressure melting of carbonated eclogite and experimental constraints on carbon recycling and storage in the mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 214 (2003) 357-368; G.M. Yaxley, G.P. Brey, Phase relations of carbonate-bearing eclogite assemblages from 2.5 to 5.5 GPa: implications for petrogenesis of carbonatites, Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 146 (2004) 606-619] shows that carbonate minerals are preserved in anhydrous or slightly hydrous carbonated eclogite to temperatures >1100 and >1200 °C at 5 and 9 GPa, respectively. Thus, deep subduction of carbonate is expected along any plausible subduction geotherm. If extrapolated to higher pressures, the carbonated eclogite solidus is likely to intersect the oceanic geotherm at a depth close to 400 km. Carbonated eclogite bodies entering the convecting upper mantle will thus release carbonate melt near the top of the mantle transition zone and may account for anomalously slow seismic velocities at depths of 280-400 km. Upon release, this small volume, highly reactive melt could be an effective agent of deep mantle metasomatism. Comparison of the carbonated eclogite solidus with that of peridotite-CO2 shows a shallower solidus-geotherm intersection for the latter. This implies that carbonated peridotite is a more likely proximal source of magmatic carbon in oceanic provinces. However, carbonated eclogite is a potential source of continental carbonatites, as its solidus crosses the continental shield geotherm at ca. 4 GPa. Transfer of eclogite-derived carbonate melt to peridotite may account for the geochemical characteristics of some oceanic island basalts (OIBs) and their association with high CaO and CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 30 2004


  • Carbon cycle
  • Eclogite
  • Experimental petrology
  • Ocean island basalts
  • Partial melting

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